Sunday, 16 January 2022

Meet Olive & Taking on a new puppy tips

 It's been a while since I did a blog post and I thought I'd start 2022 with news of our puppy Olive!

I wouldn't call this new news, especially if you follow me on Instagram as she's been with the House of Rayment since the end of September, but I can safely say she's very much settled into the household. 

So why a puppy now? Well Chris and I have been toying with the idea for 2-3 years now but we'd been considering moving house and changing jobs, so it felt like it wasn't quite the right time. Now that we're settled in our new house and jobs are sorted, it felt right to introduce a new member to the family and of course we opted for a rescue dog from Cyprus! (All  of our rescues are from Cyprus.) 

The rescue group we used are called Polis Pound, based in Paphos who were an absolute joy to communicate and liaise with. They were on hand to answer any questions we had and did a video interview with us to make sure we were the right fit for Olive. We knew we wanted some sort of spaniel breed again as we love their energy and running with them, so when Olive popped up as available it was an instant yes. Mum is a lab cross and with her beautiful ears it's believed her dad could have been a Springer. Once she's fully grown she is expected to be medium size. 

Olive in the Pound!

Olive was one of Lucy's beautiful puppies. The poor mum was dumped at the gates of the pound in a state after only a few weeks of giving birth to her litter! Thanks to Lucy being the perfect mum and with some extra loving care from the fabulous pound volunteers the pups are were ready to find their forever families and travel in September, making Olive 4 months old when she arrived with us.

Olive in the pound

Why a rescue dog?

We've always had rescue pets in our household. Both Harry the dog and Zara the cat are rescues too and they will always have a special place in my heart. I think because we know we've rescued them from a horrible alternative and also I'd rather save an animal than pay for one that's been bred for purpose. The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. When you adopt, you save a loving animal by making them part of your family and open up shelter space for another animal who might desperately need it. I don't think I could do it any other way now and I would highly recommend it. Yes we did miss out on a few months of her life initially but it was worth it in order to give her a loving home.

Since having Olive, she's settled in amazingly and we can't imagine life without her! Harry is also very much enjoying her company, especially after the cat went missing in May (which is another story coming soon...)

As well as being thick as thieves, Harry has been great at showing Olive the ropes and mentoring her which has meant her confidence has really grown since she's joined us. Equally Olive has boosted Harry's confidence as before she was here he was very nervous of laminate floors and wouldn't go into my study! Now however he will happily trot in and settle down whilst I craft away. It's lovely!


Olive has already been on holiday too! After a few weeks of being with us we took her away to Wales for a week and she adored her adventures and new sights and smells.

With still being so young we didn't do long days of walking with her and had regular rest stops at the pub so she could snooze and we could get rehydrated? Ahem...


We've made it a priority to socialise Olive as much as possible. From taking her on her fist walks around our village it was apparent she was a little nervous of other dogs, barking at them as they walked past. One of the best places we've found is Holly Lodge Farm and CafĂ© with it's enclosed fields for exercising and socialising dogs. 

Olive socialising with friends dogs at Holly Lodge Farm

As well we've had family and friends dogs over to the house for play dates with Olive which she has loved and now on walks she is excited to see other dogs rather than intimidated.

Taking on a rescue puppy

This is my second time around taking on a rescue dog and though they are all very different and have individual needs, here are a few tips that I've found help with them settling in:

- Their own little space. It's important to determine where your dog will be spending most of their time. Pick a room that’s the centre of activity at home so your soon-to-be family member won’t feel isolated. The kitchen is often a good option as it’s best for easy clean-ups. We opted for the kitchen/utility area as the floor is wipe able for any accidents or spills of food and drink!

-Dog proof your home!-Make sure the areas where your dog will be spending most of it's time during the first few months are dog proof. Things such as moving anything precious out of the way that could be chewed, electrical items and cleaning items put on a high shelf. 

-When you’re out of the house. Create a temporary, gated-off space for your pup where they can’t damage or eat things. This will be his area whenever you’re not at home. For us we've chosen this as the utility with a baby gate to section it off from the entire kitchen.

-Register your dog's microchip. I did this as soon as we got our pets home. Be sure to register your contact information with the chip’s database company. 

-Bringing them home. Your new dog should be safely secured. When we collected Olive we were instructed to bring a slip lead with us. They may find the car trip stressful so having them in a safe place will make the trip easier for them. We bought a dog car seat and filled it with a blanket, lined it with puppy pads and attached the seatbelt which goes through the bottom of the car seat to ensure puppy is secure. It's also important to remember that you could get fined if you're driving with an unrestrained pet in the car!

- Introducing puppy to existing pets- Its important to get them introduced to your existing pets. We did this by getting Harry and Olive to meet in the garden on a lead. Initially Olive barked at Harry but soon they were sniffing one another and happy in one another's company.

-Giving puppy a tour. Once home, keep your dog on the leash and lead  from room to room - spend a few minutes in each room. Show them where their food and water bowls are.
-Take him to his own little safe haven. Take him to his toileting area immediately. Spend some time with him so he gets used to the area and can relieve himself.

-Settling a rescue dog at night. It is not unusual for puppies and even adult dogs to cry on their first night in a new home – remember that they are away from what is familiar to them! You may wish to put their bed in your bedroom for the first few nights, as being near you can help to provide a source of comfort. Another tip I have is to put a worn t-shirt in their bed. I've found this comforts a new puppy, having your scent near them in their bed and helps them to settle in.

New Pup Shopping List

Before bringing puppy home, its important to be prepared with a bed, food bowls, lead, harness etc. Here are a few things I bought for Olive in case you're interested and full disclosure, they're all green/olive green because she's called Olive!

Forest Green Dog Collar- Sophie Allport

I've found this really hardwearing and looks really smart too!

Bubbles & Fizz dog Toy- Sophie Allport

As a prosecco lover I couldn't not buy this for olive, plus what an adorable and non-tacky dog toy!

Waterproof Washable hardwearing Olive Green dog bed- Amazon

This bed has been an absolute lifesaver with Olive having accidents. The entire bed unzips so the cover can be washed and the padding too. It's very hard wearing and durable against her claws!

Fleece Blankets- Amazon

These have been perfect to line beds, take in the car or pop on the sofa when Olive wnts to come up for cuddles.

Leash Harness Set- Amazon

We didn't use the collar but the leash and harness were a great beginner set for when Olive was small to get her used to being on a lead and on walks. 

So that's little Olive! I hope the tips in this post have been helpful and you'd consider rescuing a pup rather than just buying one. There are so many dogs and puppies that need rescuing. If you're interested in the stories behind rescuing Harry and Zara, check out this post.

Friday, 12 November 2021

Alternative Christmas Gift Ideas *Ad

It's that time of year again where we start thing about the C word... and with that in mind, I thought I'd share a few gift ideas with you that aren't your standard socks or pyjamas!

For the Foodies

Getting gifts for those that are lovers of good food and wine, doesn't mean you always have to get them food itself. Have you thought of gifting them things to accompany their food and that aren't just practical but an enjoyment to use and treasure?

The 6 o'clock club - Wine coaster from Katie Cardew is a perfect gift for the wine connoisseurs and red wine loves alike. I love the style of Katie Cardew's art and I'm sure that those who are also a fan of the 6 o'clock club will also appreciate it too. They can sip away after a long day and rest assure they won't mark the table with their coaster championing their drink choice!

As I've mentioned, buying for food lovers doesn't always have to been food itself so why not opt for beautiful crockery? This Puglia Bowl from Sous Chef* is handmade in Italy and a beautiful addition for anyone who loves cooking and entertaining. Who said that cook ware had to be boring and practical when they can be pretty and practical? Serve figs drizzled in honey, a gorgeous salad or scoops of gelato; this bowl is a beautiful home ware gift and a lovely nod to the Italian Mediterranean. 

Scrunchies and Stationary*

Writing paper and scrunchies are my new favourite thing to gift people! Hair up in a pretty scrunchie and pens down on inspiring writing paper will always help to motivate people and get them off to a productive day. 

 I recently teamed up for an Instagram Live with Prints by Natasha Cole to showcase my writing paper and found that lots of her scrunchies paired perfectly with my paper! Take this Suede Effect Beige Scrunchie this pairs perfectly with the Flock To Feather* paper from my shop and would make a lovely gift to a friend over the festive season.

Another perfect pairing is the Leopard Print Hair Scrunchie and The Myla* paper for those who love some leopard in their life. 

And my personal favourite is this set of 2 scrunchies and The Countryside Walk*. 

People on the Go- Sanitizing and Stationary

Another gift idea I have is for people on the go! The wanderlust is a great paper for those who travel and the perfect pairing to accompany it is a personalised hand sanitizer to keep them safe on their travels. 

I recently discovered Little Letters LDN who make gorgeous personalised pieces that are not only practical but pretty too! I fell in love with these Personalised Hand Sanitiser Holders and feel they are a perfect gift in to accessorise your sanitizer and look chic on a handbag.

Presents for the Pooches

A family member that should definitely not be overlooked this Christmas is your doggo! My recommendation for pet gifts is Environmutt -home to environmentally friendly pet treats and accessories. 

I recently picked up a Dog Gift Set for Olive and Harry which they both LOVED. Not only were the treats inside natural and good for the doggos, the tug toy is also fashioned from recyclable tshirt yarn. The gift set we opted for contained sprats,  tripe, tug toy,  ball and poo bags- all of which will definitely be put to good use! Olive particularly loved the tug toy!

The gift of words

Heading back to the paper theme, have you thought of sending a letter to a loved one rather than a card this year? 

A heart felt letter to a long distance loved one catching up and reflecting on the year can be a really lovely way to show you care without costing the earth. Equally, the recipient doesn't necessarily need to be a long distance relative. Happy mail out of the blue can be an unexpected joy to someone you care about that could make their day! 

To keep with the festive theme, I'm releasing some Christmas papers in the shop very soon so keep your eyes peeled on the Par Avion Paper* Etsy store for their release very soon!

So those are just a few of my gift ideas for Christmas this year that are a slightly different to you usual. Admittedly there are a lot of paper based ones in there!

Have you got any gifting alternatives to recommend?

*Ad I was kindly gifted the Sous Chef bowl in exchange for a review. ?I have also advertised my own brand Par Avion Paper Co in this post. 

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Holly Lodge Dog Fields & Cafe

Tucked away in a tiny village called Upton Cambridgeshire, there's a hidden gem for dog lovers and cake lovers alike! Holly Lodge Dog Fields and Cafe is a wonderful place that I wish I could take credit for finding but Chris was the one to discover it on one of his cycle rides!

The Holly Lodge Cafe is a cute, rustic, welcoming place as well as a cake lovers dream. It opened in 2021 and is the perfect pit stop for cyclists or a welcome cake break before taking the dogs into the fields. 

With indoor, outdoor and marquee seating, there's plenty of space for everyone to come and enjoy the cafe with doggies too.

The food here is incredible and will certainly take you over your calorie count for the day but trust me- it's so worth it! Chris will also concur...

Not only is the food delicious, it's locally sourced from a 35 mile radius of Holly Lodge, supporting other local businesses. If sweet things don't do it for you, there's some incredible savoury bites like chipotle scotch eggs and pork with pickle pies!

Once full of cake and caffinated, you're ready for the fields. 

There are two secure dog paddocks to book- the North Field and the South Field. On this occasion we chose the North Field; a 3 acre field with wooded area and gorgeous views of the Cambridgeshire countryside. The South Field is an incredible 6 acre field with plenty of open space for dogs to run wild. 

From tyres and tree logs, hay bales and plenty of dog toys; it's a doggie's dream. I've not come across a place like this in Cambridgeshire before and think it's such a great place to bond with your four legged friends!

From a dog owner's perspective it's wonderful to watch your dogs run free in the knowledge that they're completely safe and secure. With recently getting another puppy, it was also a great place to let her off lead for the first time and socialise her with other dogs.  

The fields are also a great place to take children too. On this visit we brought our friends with their dogs and children who enjoyed the fresh air and play time with the pooches too. Both fields provide dog bins and waste bags, running water for doggy drinks and cleaning. Booking of the paddocks is available here.

Our hour in the field flew by so fast and before we knew it, it was time to leave but we will definitely be back very soon for more exercise and cake at the cafe! If you're interested in visiting for yourself, the opening hours are as follows:

The Farm Cafe

Thursday 9am-4pm,

Friday 9am-4pm

Saturday 9am – 4pm

Sunday 10am – 4pm

Monday 9am – 4pm

Will you be visiting Holly Lodge Dog Fields and Cafe?

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